Su Beimo did not stay in the town for so long, he did not even go home. On Sunday afternoon, not long after dinner, he received a call from Xu Yuanming, asking him if it was convenient for him to go back to work overtime. The return ticket for the weekend was only available in the evening, so Su Beimo was delayed for a day. He worked on his laptop at Liao Nanqing’s house, and when he looked at his work documents on the computer, he would wear a pair of metal thin-framed glasses.
Liao Nanqing sat beside him and did his homework, saving up the questions he didn’t understand.
When Su Beimo was free, he would talk and carefully draw the key points. Su Beimo habitually pushed his glasses when he explained the questions, and the side of his face overflew with soft light in Liao Nanqing’s eyes, hazy into the present world.
Liao Nanqing easily got lost in thought and had a short attention span. Especially when Su Beimo gave him tutoring, his wandering was multiplied by a hundred times. This progress was not as good as reviewing it himself, or asking Xu Yanyan to help with the subject.
Originally, Su Beimo was tutoring Liao Nanqing through the phone, so he couldn’t see any clues. But as long as he was face to face, he could see that Liao Nanqing’s eyes were dazed and his brain seemed to have stopped functioning.
“Liao Nanqing.” Su Beimo knocked his head with a ball-point pen, “I’ll charge you if you wander off again.”
“Then I will write you an IOU.”
“…Get an inch and want a mile.”1SBM used 蹬鼻子上眼了 which is just the popular version of this (according to baidu) and I’m not sure of the translation (get your nose high??) so just substitute with this Su Beimo used his fingertips to point out the test paper, “I’ll say it again, listen carefully.”
Liao Nanqing sat upright, and while listening, he wrote down the equations and memorized them twice over and over again. He used the dumbest method to digest Su Beimo’s teaching, but fortunately, Su Beimo was careful and gave a lecture on each problem.
His voice was calm and gentle, which was good to hear on the phone, but even better to hear in reality.
“I bought you some dumplings and wontons and put them in the refrigerator. Don’t keep eating instant noodles. The stir-fry restaurant downstairs is not expensive in my opinion.” Su Beimo cleaned up a little and rubbed Liao Nanqing’s head.
A short time together was not enough for each other.
Liao Nanqing followed him reluctantly and whispered, “I’m not going downstairs to eat.”
Su Beimo immediately figured out the reason. Liao Nanqing was a “celebrity” in this area. He put it another way: “Next time I come back, I will teach you how to cook.”
“Does that mean we have to wait for winter break?”
Liao Nanqing lowered his head and said sincerely, “It’s too slow, I’ll miss you.”
Su Beimo’s heart warmed up, he stood at the entrance of the foyer and didn’t put on shoes, looking at Liao Nanqing eyes stuffed with smiles: “If you improve by 10 places in the midterm, I’ll give you a gift.”
But Liao Nanqing didn’t want gifts. The best gift was for Su Beimo to come back.
He nodded blankly, “I got bad grades, but I don’t want gifts either, you can come back to see me, or let me go to you…”
“No, you have to work hard. It’s the third year of high school.” Su Beimo said this like a little parent. He really hoped that Liao Nanqing could be well, be able to make progress, and also realize his wishes.
He did not know that Liao Nanqing’s wish was to come to B City to find him. If he knew that this was actually Liao Nanqing’s only wish this year, Su Beimo would have jumped up with pride. Look, the person I like also has his heart toward me.
People who had a crush, no matter how old they were, all had childish and careful thoughts. They secretly hid it, lest the other person found out.
Liao Nanqing never refuted Su Beimo’s words, so he agreed: “This year, can I spend your birthday with you?”
Afraid of Su Beimo’s refusal, Liao Nanqing acted like a child: “I’ll buy you a big cake and we’ll blow out the candles together.”
His memories of birthdays would always be about the big cakes and blowing candles in his early childhood. After his mother remarried, it was his little brother’s big cakes and blowing candles. These two things, Liao Nanqing stubbornly believed were the greatest luxury, the best part of the birthday. These were the good things that he felt Su Beimo should have and that he wanted to spend with Su Beimo.
He wanted to participate in Su Beimo’s birthday, and this thought infiltrated his brain unconsciously.
It gradually took root.
Liao Nanqing was startled by his own thoughts and raised his eyes in wary.
“Sure, I’ll look forward to it.” Su Beimo said as such.
Liao Nanqing was instantly happy as he walked Su Beimo to the station, and couldn’t help but talk a lot along the way. As before, after Su Beimo entered the station, he stood still outside the glass door. Through the glass door, he was still like a small quail that had lost its nest, obediently, making people distressed.
Su Beimo couldn’t resist going out again before the ticket check, and gently pushed his forehead: “Study hard.”
“Don’t always eat junk food.”
“Nothing to say to me?”
Liao Nanqing thought for a moment and said solemnly, “I will miss you.”
Su Beimo raised his mouth: “I will miss you too.”
With a ray of sunshine, the pace of youth was getting closer, Liao Nanqing’s ears were reddish, and the two small dimples on the corners of his mouth carried the beautiful longing of autumn.
—— I will miss you.
—— I will miss you too.
Su Beimo thought to himself, “I must be missing you more.
In November, Su Beimo’s company entered a busy overtime season. Xu Yuanming, who worked in the same department as him, complained every day that he had no time to go on a date. His hair was so greasy because he didn’t have time to wash it after working long hours on the computer. Female colleagues in the office even applied facial masks while working overtime.
As the saying goes, put on the most expensive mask and work the latest shift.
Fortunately, overtime pay was also considerable. Su Beimo went to the mobile phone shop to choose a phone that young people like now, preparing to give it to Liao Nanqing when he progressed in his studies.
Recently, Su Beimo had been receiving reports from third year student Nanqing Liao on his performance. His foundation was weak and his progress was slow, but one could feel that he was working hard. The normal atmosphere of the school and the enthusiasm for learning made people have unlimited hopes for the future.
But in the midterm exam, Liao Nanqing only improved nine places in the class.
One place difference was a lot worse. It was clear that he had studied very hard, but he was still one step away.
He slumped on his desk in despair. Xu Yanyan and Ge Yun made eye contact, but nothing came out, and so they used their cell phones instead.
[What’s wrong with him?]
[He did poorly on the test?]
[No, he’s improved nine places in a month, the head teacher just praised him!]
[Why don’t you ask?]
[I’m a girl, I’m more reserved.]
Xu Yanyan snorted and took out a lollipop from the drawer to poke Liao Nanqing’s head: “Little Nannan, eat candy? Your favorite strawberry flavor~”
Liao Nanqing muffled: “I can’t eat it.”
What was the big deal with this? Xu Yanyan and Ge Yun knew that he had been bullied before, so they were especially concerned, almost dragging a small bench to ask him if he had encountered something again. As a result, Liao Nanqing’s eyes were red and he sniffed unwillingly. Xu Yanyan could not help but hold his face: “Good boy,2XYY used guai 乖:(of a child) obedient, well-behaved; what happened, talk to brother.”
Ge Yun: “Gay is gay.”
Ge Yun’s silent tablemate also glanced at Xu Yanyan and Liao Nanqing, pushing his glasses, acquiesced to the sentence gay is gay.
“I want to improve ten places.” Liao Nanqing rubbed his eyes, “One less.”
Xu Yanyan said dumbly: “It turns out that you are so ambitious, I underestimate you.”
“Xu Jianjian, people call it progress.” Ge Yun seldom had a good temper. “Liao Nanqing, you have improved nine places in the class and fifty in the school, in fact, it is already very good. The class teacher has just praised you, you have to climb up step by step, don’t be anxious.”
Liao Nanqing nodded his head, he also knew that. However, it was his agreement with Su Beimo to improve ten places, and he was sad that he couldn’t keep it. So much so that he didn’t talk much all day, and his whole body was wilted.
Liao Nanqing was particularly frustrated when he sent Su Beimo his report card, and Su Beimo was still working overtime and didn’t have time to reply to him. Qiu Lu, a female colleague sitting beside him, handed Su Beimo a cup of instant coffee provided by the company and took advantage of the break to test him, “You work overtime every day, you don’t have time to date your girlfriend, ba?”
“I don’t have a girlfriend.” Su Beimo thanked her for the coffee and looked at the data carefully.
Qiu Lu smiled and sat back to type on the form. Like Su Beimo, she was a senior intern in this company, and she noticed Su Beimo as early as the first day after joining the company. It was just that Su Beimo would go to the pantry on his lunch break to make phone calls or send messages, making people think he had a girlfriend.
Today, Qiu Lu had the courage to ask and received a satisfactory answer.
Qiu Lu’s pleased expression was seen by Xu Yuanming, who passed by and patted Su Beimo, who was still unaware of the situation, and sighed: “Fresh meat is always more popular than old meat.”
Su Beimo was puzzled.
Xu Yuanming would not easily pierce Qiu Lu’s careful thoughts and changed the subject: “There is a project to be on a business trip at the end of November. It’s with Mr. Li, he seems to want to pick a few interns to follow. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train before you go.”
Su Beimo asked, “Is it the project that Mr. Li is personally leading?”
“Yes, ah. You and Qiu Lu must be in it, you two are the only interns working overtime, Mr. Li is paying attention to it.”
Qiu Lu’s eyes lit up, “That’s great, it’s a good time to go out and learn.”
Mr. Li was very good at leading people, and he could learn a lot by going out with him on projects. Su Beimo always wanted to go with Mr. Li, but he didn’t want to choose November. He agreed to go back to see Liao Nanqing on his birthday. But it hadn’t been decided yet, and Xu Yuanming’s words couldn’t be trusted.
It was just Qiu Lu who was quietly having fun there. Su Beimo wiped his face and saw the message on his phone.
It was from Liao Nanqing: [I’ve only improved nine places, there’s another quiz at the end of the month, I’ll try to advance ten places. When the time comes, wait for November 30th, I’ll come to you, okay? I want to accompany you on your birthday.]
Su Beimo could not argue with him: [Okay, but if you come, you must tell me in advance, I will pick you up].
At this hour, Liao Nanqing was still studying in the evening, so he probably didn’t have time to reply to the message.
Su Beimo then sent a message: [But I want to come to you even more.]
Come walking, come running, couldn’t wait to go. What he said was very explicit, but unfortunately that little fool Liao Nanqing couldn’t understand it. Su Beimo was also grateful that he stupidly couldn’t understand his mind. Only in this way would Liao Nanqing approach him carefully. He could be a ‘good old man’ who didn’t scare away Liao Nanqing.
Unexpectedly, Liao Nanqing actually replied at the time of the evening self-study: [Can you send me your address? If I look at it every day, I will be motivated to study. ]
[How can you make progress if you don’t study hard at night?] Having said that, Su Beimo still incidentally attached his address at the end of the message.
Liao Nanqing sensibly did not reply.
Su Beimo put down his phone with a smile on the corner of his mouth. Qiu Lu paid attention to him for a long time and took a lot of care to glance at his phone, but couldn’t see what he was typing.
Xu Yuanming cheerfully chimed in: “It’s that brother of yours again? It’s not easy for you to be a brother, ah.”
“He has made progress in his studies, that has to be praised.”
Qiu Lu immediately asked, “How old is he?”
“Third year of high school.”
“That’s the very important time. I have a sister who is also in the third year, but she’s always playing around and doesn’t like to study.” She tried her best to find a topic to talk more with Su Beimo, but was dismissed by Su Beimo in a few words. The three of them reverted to their enthusiasm for working overtime. Qiu Lu nodded unhappily, and Su Beimo didn’t care too much.
- 1SBM used 蹬鼻子上眼了 which is just the popular version of this (according to baidu) and I’m not sure of the translation (get your nose high??) so just substitute with this
- 2XYY used guai 乖:(of a child) obedient, well-behaved;